Table of Contents

3 job seeking tips from an L&D hiring manager

job seeking tips for learning & development

Several weeks ago I wrote some observations for job seekers after reviewing 50 L&D manager job descriptions. In today’s post, Mary Cropp, Director of Training and Development at Bluetooth SIG, writes this guest post to share some very blunt advice for anyone looking to land their next role on an L&D team.

Job-seeking advice from an L&D Director

Mary Cropp - Head ShotAs the hiring manager and in-house consultant for all things L&D within my organization, I am choosy about who will be on my team and who will be providing contract work for the organization. Choosy? Make that very choosy. If I lift the veil for a moment on hiring practices within the L&D realm, I want to prepare all you facilitators, trainers, and instructional designers out there with a bit of what a hiring manager looks for in a candidate.  

You need a portfolio

Over and over, the number one mistake I see from L&D candidates is that they don’t have a portfolio of work at the ready. I can get hundreds of applicants for a single job – and if you can’t show me, easily and readily – the type of work you have done in the past, I can look at the next 99 candidates who will. Nor will I wait around until you assemble something.  (I will also ask you to do a quick design or facilitation challenge during an interview, but that’s assuming that you get that far. No portfolio means that you won’t get an interview, no matter how skilled a trainer you are.) If you do nothing else after reading this blog post, start building your portfolio.

Start today.

I think the assumption used to be that the only folks within L&D that needed a portfolio were virtual learning designers. I am here to tell you: nuh uh. I want to see examples of work for all training modalities. This is the absolute minimum investment to make in your career.

Your samples need to be legit

So, now that you’ve grabbed your chai latte and carved out some time to work on your portfolio, make sure you are sharing the right things, and legitimately. Repeat after me: anything you have created for your employer or client is owned by said employer or client, not you. Don’t share this content unless you have gotten written permission to do so. Otherwise, you will either need to create new stuff altogether, provide it in a case study format (that is, talk about it, but don’t provide any content) or strip out all content and logos and replace with generic lorem ipsum. If you are stumped for ideas on building content pieces, look to Go Design Something for some inspiration.

Don’t be a Luddite

Finally, please stay current with the research within our industry. If you are passionately espousing the need to design for learning styles, or telling me in an interview that humans now have the attention span of a goldfish, I will know you are not keeping up. L&D is also rife with so-called “studies” or white papers that (surprise!) conflate correlation and causation, or are the bright, shiny object of the moment in the industry but without any basis in fact.  Clark N. Quinn, Patti Shank and Will Thalheimer are three great examples of leaders in our field who have taken the science of learning and applied it to workplace learning. They challenge some of the sacred ideas of our industry and push us to find peer-reviewed, evidence-based solutions to challenges. Be sure to be familiar with their work and stay up to date to become the best candidate for that next job.

Articles Similar to 3 job seeking tips from an L&D hiring manager

Learning & Development
Brian Washburn

How “Mature” is Your Training Program?

How strategic is your training program? How outcome-oriented, governed or sustainable is it? In today’s podcast, Danielle Duran talks about how to objectively measure your training program in those four key areas.

Learning & Development
Brian Washburn

A Conversation on Inclusive Training Design with Jolene Jang

When I participated in a DEI-focused session led by Jolene Jang at a recent conference, I just kept shaking my head. She would point out specific ways to make learning more inclusive, and I immediately thought: there’s another thing I’m not doing!

Learning & Development
Brian Washburn

Where Sales Enablement Meets L&D

Natalie Mazzie, an experienced sales enablement professional, feels there is a lot that general L&D folks can learn from the sales enablement field. Here’s our conversation.

Maria Leggett on learning & development resumes
Learning & Development
Brian Washburn

A Learning & Development Resume that Gets Noticed

When you’re applying for an L&D job, how do you best position yourself to get a call from a recruiter or hiring manager? Experienced HR professional, Maria Leggett, offers her insights in today’s podcast.

Subscribe to Get Updates from Endurance Learning

Brian Washburn, Author

Brian Washburn
CEO & Chief Ideas Guy

Enter your information below and we’ll send you the latest updates from our blog. Thanks for following!

Find Your L&D Career Path

Explore the range of careers to understand what role might be a good fit for your L&D career.

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the PDF of the What’s Possible in L&D Worksheet.

What's possible in L&D

Let's Talk Training!

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn
CEO & Chief Ideas Guy

Enter your information below and we’ll get back to you soon.

Download the Feedback Lesson Plan

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the lesson plan as a PDF.

feedback lesson plan
MS Word Job Aid Template

Download the Microsoft Word Job Aid Template

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the Word version of this template.

Download the Free Lesson Plan Template!

Enter your email below and we’ll send you a Word document that you can start using today!

free lesson plan template
training materials checklist

Download the Training Materials Checklist

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the PDF of the Training Materials Checklist.

Subscribe to Endurance Learning for updates

Get regular updates from the Endurance Learning team.